August 22, 2011 Budget Hearing Minutes
Minutes of the Board of Ward County Commissioners
August 22, 2011
Chairman Gruenberg called the special meeting to order at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, August 22nd. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a 9/11 Resolution, the Recorder’s position, a Demolition application and to hear the 2012 Department budget requests. Present were Comms. Fjeldahl, Christianson, Erickson and Nybakken. Also present was Auditor/Treasurer Devra Smestad.
Human Resource Coordinator Colleen Houmann appeared. A letter of interest for the Recorder position was submitted prior to the deadline by Betty Braun. Recorder Sheila Dalen appeared to speak in favor of promoting Deputy Recorder Braun. Moved by Comm. Erickson, seconded by Comm. Nybakken to have Betty Braun appear and interview before the Personnel Committee and a recommendation be sent to the Commission for consideration. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Moved by Comm. Christianson, seconded by Comm. Erickson to ratify the following 9/11 Resolution:
Ward County, North Dakota Joining the National Moment of Remembrance of the 10th Anniversary of September 11th
WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of Ward County, North Dakota expresses their support of the United State's Senate regarding coming together as a Nation and ceasing all work or other activity for a moment of remembrance beginning at 12:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time on September 11, 2011, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks committed against the United States on September 11, 2001; and
WHEREAS, at 8:46 a.m., on September 11, 2001, hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the upper portion of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, New York; and
WHEREAS, 17 minutes later, at 9:03 a.m., hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center; and
WHEREAS, at 9:37 a.m., the west wall of the Pentagon was hit by hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, the impact of which caused immediate and catastrophic damage to the headquarters of the Department of Defense; and
WHEREAS, at approximately 10:00 a.m., the passengers and crew of hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 acted heroically to retake control of the airplane and thwart the taking of additional American lives by crashing the airliner in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and, in doing so, gave their lives to save countless others; and
WHEREAS, nearly 3,000 innocent civilians were killed in the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001; and
WHEREAS, tens of thousands of individuals narrowly escaped the attacks at the Pentagon and World Trade Center and, as witnesses to this tragedy, are forever changed; and
WHEREAS, countless fire departments, police departments, first responders, governmental officials, workers, emergency medical personnel, and volunteers responded immediately and heroically to those horrific events; and
WHEREAS, the Fire Department of New York suffered 343 fatalities on September 11, 2001, the largest loss of life of any emergency response agency in United States history; and
WHEREAS, the Port Authority Police Department suffered 37 fatalities in the attacks, the largest loss of life of any police force in United States history in a single day; and
WHEREAS, the New York Police Department suffered 23 fatalities as a result of the terrorist attacks; and
WHEREAS, the impact of that day on public health continues through 2011, as nearly 90,000 people are at risk of or suffering from negative health effects as a result of the events of September 11, 2001, including 14,000 workers and 2,400 community residents who are sick, and tens of thousands of others whose health is being monitored; and
WHEREAS, 10 years later, the people of the United States and people around the world continue to mourn the tremendous loss of innocent life on that fateful day; and
WHEREAS, 10 years later, thousands of men and women in the United States Armed Forces remain in harm’s way defending the United States against those who seek to threaten the United States; and
WHEREAS, on the 10th anniversary of this tragic day, the thoughts of the people of the United States are with all of the victims of the events of September 11, 2001 and their families; and
WHEREAS, the lives of Americans were changed forever on September 11, 2001, when events threatened the American way of life; and
WHEREAS, in 2009, Congress and the President joined together to designate September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance under the Serve America Act (Public Law 111–13; 123 Stat. 1460); and
WHEREAS, in September 2009 and 2010, the President issued Proclamation 8413 (74 Fed. Reg. 47045) and Proclamation 8559 (75 Fed. Reg. 56463) proclaiming September 11, 2009, and September 11, 2010, respectively, as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance; and
WHEREAS, September 11 will never, and should never, be just another day in the hearts and minds of all people of the United States;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Commissioners of Ward County, North Dakota:
(1) recognizes September 11, 2011, as a day of solemn commemoration of the events of September 11, 2001, and a day to come together as a Nation; and
(2) offers its deepest and most sincere condolences to the families, friends, and loved ones of the innocent victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; and
(3) honors the heroic service, actions, and sacrifices of first responders, law enforcement personnel, State and local officials, volunteers, and countless others who aided the innocent victims of those attacks and, in doing so, bravely risked and often gave their own lives; and
(4) recognizes the valiant service, actions, and sacrifices of United States personnel, including members of the United States Armed Forces, the United States intelligence agencies, the United States diplomatic service, homeland security and law enforcement personnel, and their families, who have given so much, including their lives and well-being, to support the cause of freedom and defend the security of the United States; and
(5) reaffirms that the people of the United States will never forget the challenges our country endured on and since September 11, 2001, and will work tirelessly to defeat those who attacked the United States; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that on the 10th anniversary of this tragic day in United States history the Board of Commissioners of Ward County, North Dakota, calls upon all of the people and institutions of Ward County to observe a moment of remembrance on September 11, 2011, including (i) media outlets; (ii) houses of worship; (iii) military organizations; (iv) veterans organizations; (v) airlines; (vi) airports; (vii) railroads; (viii) sports teams; (ix) the Federal Government; (x) State and local governments; (xi) police, fire, and other public institutions; (xii) educational institutions; (xiii) businesses; and (xiv) other public and private institutions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Commissioners of Ward County, North Dakota, encourages the observance of the moment of remembrance to last for 1 minute beginning at 12:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time by, to the maximum extent practicable ceasing all work or other activity; and marking the moment in an appropriate manner, including by ringing bells, blowing whistles, or sounding sirens.
Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Sheriff Steve Kukowski appeared asking the commission that a PSA be prepared to make the citizens of Ward County aware that this will be happening. He thinks it would be a good idea not to cause alarm and the Commission agrees.
Director of 1st District Health Unit Lisa Clute appeared. Clute explained that the application from Ward County to FEMA requesting funding assistance for homes that 1st District Health Insurance has condemned. This letter needs to be approved by the Commission and sent first before the application will be reviewed. This will assist home owners in shifting the burden of the demolition cost to Ward County. Comm. Gruenberg stated that these are homes within Ward County and do not reside within an incorporated city but do reside within the 2 mile extra territorial. Clute stated this is the criteria for affected homes and that a list will be updated continuously and given to FEMA as new homes are identified and homeowners have agreed to the process. Moved by Comm. Christianson, seconded by Comm. Erickson to submit the request for demolition to the specific authority. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Director of Veteran Services Dale Braun appeared and stated that over the next year or so, his office will be going paperless.
Building Supervisor Ron Overly appeared and let the Commission know that he will be retiring on June 1, 2012 and therefore his budget reflected a three month training period in the salary for his replacement. He also requested an increase in the proposed electrical budget of $2,000 – from $63,000 to $65,000.
Auditor/Treasurer Devra Smestad presented her concern about evaluation numbers for Ward County after the Tax Equalization office did their adjustments from the 2011 flood. Smestad also presented the estimated mill levy rate for 2012.
Weed Control Officer Derrill Fick appeared.
Highway Engineer Dana Larson appeared for the Ward County Highway Department, Park Board, and Rushville Township.
Comm. Christianson left meeting at 9:21 a.m.
Comm. Christianson returned to the meeting at 9:23 a.m.
Emergency Manager Amanda Schooling appeared to discuss the Emergency Management Planner position and the increase in health benefits. The prior Emergency Manager elected not to take the health insurance, but Schooling will be.
Tax Equalization Mike Vendsel appeared and discussed the potential re-evaluation of the commercial properties in Ward County by contracting VanGuard.
At 9:50 a.m. the meeting was recessed.
At 10:05 a.m. the meeting reconvened with all members present.
Superintendent of Schools Jodi Johnson appeared and updated the Commission on some law changes.
Recorder Sheila Dalen appeared to present a revised proposed budget reducing salaries and benefits due to her retirement this year.
Library Administrator Linda Mahon appeared and explained that due to the purchase of the new bookmobile the proposed 2012 budget is less.
A letter from Juvenile Detention Administrator Allison Hughes was reviewed explaining the decrease in the proposed budget due to the full-time position that resigned and the duties being absorbed by members of the part-time staff.
Smestad reviewed the Emergency 9/11, Rehab Services, and Senior Citizens proposed budgets.
States Attorney Roza Larson appeared. She stated that 2 new computers are in the proposed budget along with a Bate stamp. She also remarked that due to the increase in the case load, witness fees and lodging will continue to increase.
Jail Commander Penny Erickson appeared and stated that the jail is running close to capacity.
Smestad then presented budgets for: State Fair, which has a 2 mill cap, Weather Modification, Commission, and began on the Auditor’s proposed budget.
Sheriff Steve Kukowski appeared to discuss the increase in the proposed budget for 2012. Ward County Sheriff’s Department has seen an increase of 21% in calls in 2011. This includes 3 new patrol deputies along with replacement equipment and fully equipped patrol cars. The costs have increase considerably for repairing/replacing radios and for automobile repairs. Also, new computer equipment is desperately needed.
Smestad continued with the Auditor/Treasurer’s budget. She removed $40,000 from the IT expenses and inserted a new category of Parceling software with a proposed budget $65,000.
At 11:46 a.m., Comm. Christianson left the meeting.
Smestad continued with the Emergency Fund and the Insurance reserve.
At 11:59 a.m. the meeting was recessed.
At 12:48 p.m. the meeting reconvened with Comm. Gruenberg, Nybakken, and Erickson present.
Extension Agent Lori Scharmer appeared. Scharmer explained the increase in the proposed travel and office supplies budget. They are currently looking at replacing the copier machine located in their office in the 2011 budget and so that will could potentially be removed from the proposed 2012 budget.
At 12:52 p.m., Comm. Fjeldahl joined the meeting.
First District Health Unit Director Lisa Clute appeared. Clute expressed that there has been a reduction in Federal grants but State Aid has increased.
Social Services Director Robert Kondos appeared. Kondos passed out a binder with backup documentations and further explanation for the 2012 proposed budget. An additional two Social Worker II positions and one Office Worker to assist Social Services heading into the paperless process have been included in their budget. An increase in requests for County burial is expected for 2012 and is reflected in the budget. Comm. Fjeldahl asked what type of affect the flood has had on the department’s budget. Kondos reported that there has been affect on the budget but it is hard to pin point it exactly.
Smestad discussed the District Court proposed budget.
Hank Bodmer presented the Weather Modification proposed budget and adjusted the proposed expenditures total from $207,000 to $181,000; reducing the total amount of the requested levy to $160,000.
Greg Hagen presented the Souris Basin Planning Council proposed budget and explained that the amount requested is based on the population of the County. It will be $.33 per capita.
At 2:05 p.m. the meeting was recessed.
At 2:10 p.m. the meeting reconvened with all members present except Comm. Christianson.
Smestad stated that the Park Board and Library Board mill rates need to be adjusted based on actual valuations as we currently have them and the Park Board request needs to be adjusted to the 1 mill limit. She also discussed a few of the Historical Societies and Area Economic Development budgets.
Allan Estvold appeared to discuss the Water Resource Board proposed budget. He expressed that the budget for the upcoming years will be used to, hopefully, resolve the numerous issues the County has seen in the spring and summer of 2011. Chairman Tom Klein appeared. The maximum mill levy is 4.
As the Economic Development Corporations prepared for their presentations, Smestad stated that there are $130,400 in budget requests for 2012 but only $90,250 is allowed by the maximum mills.
President and CEO of Minot Area Development Corporation Jerry Chavez appeared.
DeSour Valley Economic Development Representative Glen Stevens appeared and stated the increase funding request is for additional playground equipment and a batting cage.
President of the Berthold Economic Development Corporation Robert Inman appeared.
Smestad stated that Makoti Development Corporation and the Kenmare Community Development Corporation are requesting the same amount as 2011.
President of the Ryder Historical Society David A. Kraft appeared.
Ward County Historical Society Representative Dr. J. David Jones appeared and updated the Commission on the flood cleanup and the estimated costs for repair.
President of the Lake County Historical Society Bryan Quigley appeared.
Smestad presented the proposed budgets for the Makoti Threshing Historical Society, Garrison Diversion and the Ward County Soil Conservation District. She also reviewed the proposed revenue accounts for 2012.
The wrap up of the hearing began with the adjustments to the requested Economic Development budgets. Comm. Fjeldahl suggested they grant 70% of the requested amount or increase each by 30%. The Commission determined the distribution for 2012 to be as follows: DeSour - $10,350, Berthold - $15,400, Kenmare - $13,000, Makoti - $1,000 and Minot - $50,000.
To stay within the maximum mill levy, the adjusted Historical Societies 2012 budgets are as followed: Makoti - $6,480, Ryder - $5,500, Ward County - $22,140, and Lake County - $11,000.
Additional budget adjustments are as followed: Building Services – Electricity increased to $65,000; Parks – adjustment the cash on hand to $35,350 and the needed tax levy amount adjusted to $59,648; Recorders – accept the revised 2012 proposed budget presented during the hearing; Extension Office – remove the $4,200 proposed for a replacement copier.
At 4:23 p.m. with no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
ACCEPTED AND APPROVED THIS 6th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2011.
s/ Jerome Gruenberg
Chairman, Ward County Board of Commissioners
s/ Devra Smestad
Auditor/Treasurer, Ward County
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